Labor market conditions remained favorable for recent college graduates through the third quarter of 2023. While the unemployment rate edged up to 4.4 percent, the underemployment rate was little changed at 40.1 percent, remaining below its pre-pandemic level.
This web feature tracks employment data for recent college graduates since 1990, allowing for a historical perspective on the experience of those moving into the labor market.
The interactive charts allow users to:
A table tracks outcomes by college major with the latest available annual data.
Federal Reserve Bank of New York, The Labor Market for Recent College Graduates, https://nyfed.org/collegelabor.
The data do not represent official estimates of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, its President, the Federal Reserve System, or the Federal Open Market Committee.
We describe the framework for this analysis in “Underemployment in the Early Careers of College Graduates following the Great Recession” (NBER Studies in Income and Wealth) and “Are Recent College Graduates Finding Good Jobs?,” a 2014 article in the New York Fed’s Current Issues in Economics and Finance series. These papers examine more than two decades of data on the employment outcomes of recent college graduates, and contain more details and historical perspective.
We launched this web feature to make some of the data featured in these papers available on a timely and updated basis. New unemployment and underemployment data for recent college graduates post on a quarterly basis (typically in February, May, August, and November), and wages and outcome data for college graduates are released on an annual basis (typically in February). Data extend from 1990 to the present. Periodic analysis of these data are published on the Liberty Street Economics blog.
Our definition of underemployment is based on the kinds of jobs held by college graduates. A college graduate working in a job that typically does not require a college degree is considered underemployed. We use survey data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Information Network (O*NET) Education and Training Questionnaire to help determine whether a bachelor’s degree is required to perform a job. The articles cited above describe our approach in detail.
Some additional research that utilizes these data include “Working as a Barista After College Is Not as Common as You Might Think” (Liberty Street Economics).
Our underemployment figures are calculated as a percentage holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, so they do include those with graduate and professional degrees. See the notes below the x-axis on the Underemployment chart for more detail.
The “Share with Graduate Degree” column in the table represents, for each college major, the percentage of workers with a bachelor’s degree that also possesses a graduate degree of any kind. For example, 50.2 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree in history also possess some kind of graduate degree, based on February 2022 data.
Unfortunately, we do not.
No, we only publish data that encompass the most recent two-year period available to utilize from the American Community Survey, which serves as the source for our analysis.
We do not have updated data by gender available in this web feature, but we did provide some gender analysis in “Underemployment in the Early Careers of College Graduates following the Great Recession.”
Unfortunately, at this time, our analysis only pertains to those with at least a bachelor’s degree.
No. Through 2023:Q2, we examined the types of jobs held by those who are underemployed, categorizing jobs broadly by skill level and pay to generate time series data for the percentages of graduates holding “good non-college jobs” and “low-wage jobs.” Starting with the 2023:Q3 update, the web feature will no longer include the data series for "underemployed job types," although historical data remain available for download.